The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is on a mission to encourage girls around the world to join the tech workforce and we need your help to spread their message, to YOUR girls, and those you know!
It's very simple- start with the Make Tech Her Story website!
There you can learn how more than 5.1 million people worked in core technology jobs in the U.S. at the end of 2015, but just 25 percent of those jobs were held by women.
Which seems very weird when you consider the history of IT:
- In 1946, six women dubbed the “ENIAC girls” programmed the first all-electronic computer on behalf of the U.S. Army during World War II
- a few years later, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper led a team that developed Flow-matic, a programming language that became the precursor to COBOL.
- in the 1960s, Margaret Hamilton, the director of software engineering for MIT’s Instrumentation Laboratory, oversaw the team tasked with developing flight software for NASA’s Apollo space mission.
So what went wrong?
CompTIA commissioned research, based on a survey and focus groups of girls between the ages of 10 and 17, to discovery WHY?
Their research identified several critical factors that discourage girls from considering careers in tech:
Parents play a key role in introducing technology – Girls and boys agree that parents and guardians are the primary source for finding out what IT stands for.
But boys are more likely to begin using mobile devices at an earlier age (five years old or younger), than girls (11 percent vs. 5 percent). Boys are also slightly more likely to explore the inner workings of tech devices out of curiosity (36 percent vs. 30% of girls), than girls are.
Girls’ interest in technology lessens with age – Nearly half of boys have considered a tech career, compared to less than one-quarter of girls. Among middle school girls, 27 percent have considered a career in technology. By high school this figure drops to 18 percent. As parents we instinctively know, that cultural, societal pressures may have a factor in those numbers.
And taking Tech classes isn’t enough –Girls who have taken a technology class are only slightly more likely to have considered an IT career (32 percent). Less than half of girls who’ve taken these courses are confident their skills are right for the job.
Girls lack awareness about career opportunities – Of girls who have not considered an IT career, 69 percent attribute this to not knowing what opportunities are available to them. More than half (53 percent) say additional information about career options would encourage them to consider a job in IT. Which makes sense when you consider the next finidng.
Girls need role models in the industry – Just 37 percent of girls know of someone with an IT job. This rises to 60 percent among girls who have considered an IT career.
So what can be done?
“Achieving greater gender diversity in our industry requires major changes in the ways girls interact with and learn about technology,” said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO, CompTIA. “It will take a concerted, collaborative effort and long-term commitment by parents and role models, teachers and counselors and, most importantly, industry mentors, who can convey their passion about working in tech to future generations.”
And that is where make Tech HER Story comes in!
To support the Make Tech Her Story campaign, CompTIA has called on Rosie the Riveter, the cultural icon associated with the women who joined the workforce during World War II. But instead of working in munitions factories and shipyards, Rosie circa 2016 is building mobile apps, managing the Internet of Things and keeping cyber assets safe and secure.
Rosie the IT Worker is featured prominently on Make Tech Her Story website. Visitors can build their own personalized Rosie avatar (like the one Miss Grace made above), participate in a social media photo-sharing promotion, access career resources and contribute to the next chapter in the history of women and the IT industry. Plus you can download their Make Tech Her Story e-book with tips and ideas for parents and teachers alike!
So rethink your plans this weekend, and consider exposing your girls to different aspects of the IT field, you might be surprised when you do!!
About CompTIAThe Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a non-profit trade association serving as the voice of the information technology industry. With approximately 2,000 member companies, 3,000 academic and training partners and more than two million IT certifications issued, CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications and public policy advocacy. To learn more, visit CompTIA online, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.